Research Reveals Severe Adverse Reactions to Widely Used Dementia Medications

Posted by

Several antipsychotic treatments prescribed to dementia patients have been associated with severe side effects including heart failure, according to a study released on Thursday.

Related posts

“Antipsychotic use in individuals with dementia is linked to… a broad array of serious adverse outcomes such as stroke, blood clots, heart attack, heart failure, fractures, pneumonia, and acute kidney injury,” as stated in the research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The study indicates that the highest risks are seen when treatment is initiated, “highlighting the need for increased caution in the early stages of treatment.”

The antipsychotics – risperidone, quetiapine, haloperidol, and olanzapine – are typically prescribed for psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

These medications are also utilized for treating stubborn depression and in managing symptoms in dementia patients, including those with Alzheimer’s disease.

While antipsychotics are not cures for these conditions, they aim to mitigate symptoms such as aggressive behavior.

However, these treatments have sparked controversy due to their serious side effects and limited effectiveness.

In countries like France and the UK, where the BMJ study was conducted, only risperidone and haloperidol are approved for treating symptoms of dementia.

The BMJ cautions that the study is “observational” and that “firm conclusions about cause and effect” cannot be definitively made.

It is suggested that in some instances, the risk of pneumonia may be considered preferable to the progression of dementia.

The study has garnered praise from several neurologists at a time when antipsychotic prescriptions are seeing a resurgence since the Covid pandemic.

“There is a risk therefore that patients may be prescribed harmful antipsychotics simply because trained staff who can safely manage their behavior are not sufficiently available,” said neurologist Dr. Charles Marshall. He noted, however, that in rare cases, these treatments might be justified.

Share this:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments